It's no surprise when Republican politicians lie. Donald Trump has gotten us used to that, and his love of falsehoods has spread to others in his party.
Still, I was shocked when I saw that members of the not-so-Grand Old Party were criticizing the Biden administration for supposedly providing $6 billion to Iran that had been used to support the recent attacks on Israel by Hamas, a Palestinian group backed by Iran.
Aside from being flat-out wrong, it bothered me that Republicans would use a horrific attack on Israeli citizens for blatant political purposes. Here's the facts about this lie.
First, the $6 billion was Iranian money that had been held by South Korea. In exchange for releasing five hostages, Iran agreed that the money could be used for humanitarian purposes with strict oversight. A September 18, 2023 CNN story describes the deal.
The money – which had been held in restricted accounts in South Korea before being transferred to different restricted accounts in Qatar via banks in Europe – is a a key part of the deal. Iranian and US officials were notified by Qatar on Monday that the transfer had finished, according to a source briefed on details of the matter.
While the Iranian government claims it can use the money however it pleases, the Biden administration has repeatedly stressed that the funds are narrowly limited to non-sanctionable purchases like food and medicine, and that they will be subject to strict oversight.
Moreover, US officials have made clear that the funding, which is Iran’s, not from US taxpayer dollars, is not under the control of the Iranian government.
Brett McGurk, White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, said Monday that “no funds are going to Iran at all.”
“These funds are paid to vetted third-party vendors for food, medicine, medical products and agricultural products to go into Iran over a period of years. If there is any diversion, we’ll know it and we’ll lock up these accounts,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”
A Fox News journalist, Jennifer Griffin, the Chief National Security Correspondent, posted on X today that none of the $6 billion has been withdrawn yet. So this proves that the Republican politicians were lying when they said this money aided the Hamas attacks on Israel.